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Apple iPhone Water Damage

Updated on January 18, 2018

Did your iPhone or iPhone 3GS just experience water damage? If so, read on for details on what to do, how to save it, and if all else fails, how you can get a new one at the Apple store.

Recently, I completely damaged my boyfriend's iPhone. How? I did the worst possible thing and threw it into the washer.

I had no idea it was in the pockets of his robe! Somehow, he had put it there after waking up. I, trying to be a great girlfriend, decided to wash all of his clothes, even his robe. Unfortunately, for the both of us, his iPhone was in it.

So, what to do if this happens? Well, after completely panicking, we started to do a ton of research and found a lot of information about what to do.

 

Easy Steps to Follow for iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 Water Damage

Below are 12 easy steps to follow if you're iPhone has experienced water damage. Read on below for more details on each step.

  1. Do not turn it on - that means, do not touch any buttons.
  2. Do not turn it on - that means again, do not touch any buttons!
  3. Do not turn it on - again, this will cause the phone to short circuit if there is ANY amount of water in it
  4. Take it out of the case and remove the sim card.
  5. Shake out any extra water.
  6. Use a blow dryer on low heat for about 15 minutes to try to blow air through it and get rid of some of the water. Make sure it is on low heat.
  7. Shake it out again.
  8. Put it in a bag of rice, make sure it is completely covered

  9. Leave it in the rice bag for 2 -3 days if your phone was in water for less then a few minutes and 6-7 days if your phone was in water for more than that.

    Each day, take it out of the rice and use the blow dryer on low heat again for an additional 15 minutes. Then, put it back in the bag of rice.
  10. After 2-3 days you can check to see if it is still wet by shaking it a little to see if any water comes out. Sometimes, water may not come out so if you want to be sure, leave it there for 4-5 days.
  11. After you've left it in the rice bag for enough time, then try and turn it on to see if it works.

Remember: This is not foolproof, but it has worked for many people. The whole point of putting it in rice is to help it dry and remove the moisture.

What to do if you just damaged your Apple iPhone, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4

First, do not turn the phone back on. By instinct, I wanted to turn it on to see if it was working. However, if you do this, the phone will short circuit because you are putting electricity through it while there is still water in it. Water in an electronic device may not break the item. However, too many times, people turn on the item right after to check if it is still working. The act of turning it on causes you to put electricity through it. Before, when it was off, no electricity was running through it. By putting electricity through something that has water in it, you will cause the item to short circuit.

I repeat this a couple of times just so everyone understands. If you can dry out the item and remove the water, it just might work. The water will eventually cause the electronics inside to rust, but it may not cause the item not to work.

So, after not turning on the item, what do you do? You try to dry it out. You let it sit. Some people recommend putting the iPhone in rice. Take a large amount of rice, put it in a gallon ziploc bag, and then stick your iPhone in the middle of it. You don't have to wrap it or anything, the rice won't damage it. See the video below for an example of how you do this. Basically, the rice will help to suck the moisture out. If you try this method, change the rice each day. Another method is to apply some form of heat against the phone - whether it is your blow dryer or a small room heater. You want to run low heat air through it for 30 min. to an hour every couple of hours. This will help dry out the moisture. Your entire goal is to help remove the moisture. Until you know the moisture is completely gone, do not turn it on. Depending on the amount of water, some people have recommended waiting anywhere from 2 to 7 days.

Finally, after doing all of that, slowly turn on your phone. Surprisingly, for many people, these methods of waiting and drying out the phone completely worked. Many people online had accidentally dropped their phone in the pool, tub, sink or some other source of water. For us, none of this work since the phone had been washed and sat in water for more than 30 minutes. However, if you drop your iphone into water for only a few seconds or a minute, then, a lot of times, drying it out will cause it to work again.

Apple store policy and procedures for water damaged iPhones, iPhone 3GS, iphone 4 water damage

One other tip. If it doesn't work, or it doesn't work right, you can now get it replaced for $199 at the Apple store. Previously, they wouldn't replace it since water damage automatically voids the warranty. Yes, the 2 year or 1 year warranty you have is not safe if you get water damage. There are 4 sensors on your phone (picture examples are below) - 2 that you can't get to while opening, and the other 2 that you can see. The first one is in the small round hole on top left of the phone (the earpiece hole), and the other one is in the bottom middle that separates the connector. If you shine a light and look at either of these, the sensor will be pink if water has touched this area. Because of this pink sensor, the folks at the Apple store will not honor your warranty which is what happened to me and my boyfriend.

But, the good news for us all is that Apple has now changed its policy. If you have a water damaged iPhone (pink sensors!), Apple will now allow you to replace it for a refurbished phone for a lower cost. It's $199 for a refurbished phone and the warranty is only 90 days, but this is a huge difference between the full price of $599 or $699 contract free phone that we had to pay to replace the water damaged phone. Also, don't forget, if you've bought your phone from Best Buy or used a credit card that offers protection, you may be able to get some of your money back or get the phone replaced for free. Don't miss out on these options since you will have to pay to replace the water damaged phone.

Repair Option

If your sensors are pink and your iPhone is not working even after you've tried to dry it using the steps above, then you may want to consider sending it to a repair shop. Millieamp is a service that can potentially repair your damaged iPhone. For a small fee, they will first start out by evaluating the damage. Then, they will let you know how much they think it will be to repair. At that point it is up to you to decide if you want them to repair the phone or if you want to buy a new one. It is worth having them take a look in case they are able to repair the phone and you don't have to buy a completely new one, especially if you just bought the phone. Check out their iPhone and iPod repair services. They just might help you save a bundle.

How to protect your iPhone in the future

One way to protect your iPhone from future damage is to get a good case. iSkin makes some very durable cases, especially their solo or solo FX models. Go to the iskin store to check out other styles.

Example of pink sensor on top left of phone

It is very subtle, but notice the pink color in the hole on the iPhone on the right compared to the one on the left.
It is very subtle, but notice the pink color in the hole on the iPhone on the right compared to the one on the left.

Example of the pink sensor triggered in the bottom middle of your iPhone

It is very subtle, but the phone on the bottom shows a little pink line where the water has touched the sensor.
It is very subtle, but the phone on the bottom shows a little pink line where the water has touched the sensor.
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